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Cheerio Gardens | iinfo Tzaneen, Haenertsburg

In heart of the Magoebaskloof area you will find the famous Cheerio Gardens, where hundreds of different Japanese flowering cherry trees come into spectacular bloom during late September / early October.

What makes this beautiful site even more spectacular, is the fact that most other gardens in the vicinity are also then ablaze with the vibrant colours of azaleas, crab apples and other spring-flowering shrubs and trees.

Cheerio Gardens was established by Sheila (Box) Thompson after she was discharged from the army in 1946. She was a keen botanist and wanted to establish indigenous plants in the area. Because of the cool temperatures in the valley, she also decided to grow deciduous trees and shrubs from the northern hemisphere. These included maples and flowering cherries which boasted beautiful autumn colors.

A lot of the indigenous bulbs were eaten by bush pigs, porcupines and moles. Even tree ferns were eaten by porcupines during the drought. The garden was eventually established by Box Thompson, her mother Audrey (Googoo) Thompson and Station (a Mozambican).

All the terraces where made by hand, and the love and dedication that went into the task is visible as you wander along the moss-covered pathways. The garden has stayed in the same family since inception. Our vision is for visitors to enjoy the peace and tranquility the gardens have to offer.

Coming down Magoebaskloof mountain pass, take the Cheerio road, just before Stanford Lake College, and follow the signboards until you reach Cheerio Gardens.

Visiting the gardens during September/Oktober is the best time to view their full bloom, or plan your visit during the annual Magoebaskloof Spring Fair in September, and be there as the whole mountain transforms into a Spring Paradise.